Being Rex Tillerson. Why it blows.

 

You headed one of America’s couple largest companies, and the biggest of the energy “supermajors”:

  • You were unusually imperious, even for a corporate big shot — waited on hand and foot by lackeys who stroked and coddled you for decades.
  • You had a corporate dining room, so you never had to see the rabble.
  • You presided over one of the most hierarchical of the world’s corporate cultures, reflecting the tone set by John D. Rockefeller.
  • You flew private all over the globe. You got briefing books, had your own foreign policy, and a security detail.

You were Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon.

Now you’re Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State to Donald Trump. Your life blows:

  • Your boss doesn’t love you, and doesn’t even think he needs someone in your job — he likes doing it himself, and thinks he should.
  • You don’t think much of your boss, and neither do your friends.
  • You’re supposed to cut your budget: always a thankless job — but one that, in this case, may not even be a good idea.
  • Morale in your building is terrible, and no one thinks you have juice.
  • You treat everyone dismissively — media, colleagues, counterparts — with predictable results.
  • Yes, you called your boss a “moron” during a meeting at the Pentagon. It could have been worse.
  • You didn’t even bother to deny it, although finally your spokesperson did. Everyone in the West Wing thinks/knows you said it.
  • Some people who were in the room tattled to the press. So now you have to go out and say your boss is a genius — as if you were being forced to apologize to a sibling.
  • And now you’re trapped. The new regime downtown wants stability. Expectations were that you’d be gone by Thanksgiving, but now that’s stretched into 2018.
  • On top of it all, after a perfect career, your last public act is already an obvious failure — and you have to keep doing it.

Welcome to Rex Tillerson’s life. No wonder he doesn’t feel very diplomatic.

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